March 15, 2020

Pages 3368-3369
Whole Number 145

QUERY from
WILLIAM A. SPARKS (ca.1794-c

Karl T. Sparks, Tulsa, Oklahoma, 74129, a great-great-grandson of 90. William A. Sparks (born ca.1794, died ca.1858) of Lewis County, Kentucky, and Andrews County, Missouri, would like to have correspondence with anyone who has information about the parents of his great-great-grandfather. William A. Sparks was born ca. 1794 in Kentucky and served in the War of 1812. After returning from the service, he married Cordelia Donavan on August 8, 1815, in Fleming County, Kentucky. They moved to Andrews County, Missouri, about 1852. They had at least six children:

90.1 Joseph Sparks,
90.2 Daughter Sparks,
90.3 Elizabeth Sparks,
90.4 James Harvey Sparks,
90.5 William A. Sparks, Jr.,
90.6 Edward Sparks,
90.7 Sarah Sparks,

(See The Sparks Quarterly, Whole No. 51, September 1965 and The Sparks Quarterly, Whole No. 71, September 1970 for further data about this family. )


Major Gerald H. Sparks, Runge, Texas (78151), who has been a generous supporter of our Association for many years, has been searching for twenty years for the parentage of his great-great-grandfather, LEONARD SPARKS. Major Sparks is now offering a $100 "reward" to the first person who can find a record proving the identity of Leonard's parents.

An article regarding Leonard Sparks and his family by Major Sparks appeared in the Quarterly of September 1976 (Whole No. 95, pp. 1842-52). We believe that Leonard descended from that branch of the Sparks family which moved from Maryland to Pittsylvania County, Virginia, in 1778.

54.6 Leonard Sparks was born in South Carolina ca. 1822. There is a possibility that his full name was John Leonard Sparks. He was married sometime between 1835 and 1839 to Zeriah Sparks. According to family tradition, Zeriah's maiden name had also been Sparks, although there is the possibility that she was a widow of a man named Sparks when she and Leonard were married. Both Leonard and Zeriah were said to have come from large families.

Our earliest official record of Leonard Sparks is found in the 1850 census of Union County, South Carolina. There his occupation was given as "Overseer"; his age was given as 28, and he was a native of South Carolina. Zeriah was 29 in 1850 according to the census, and she had been born in South Carolina, also. Besides four children (Thomas, George, Amanda, and Catherine) listed as members of their household in 1850 (had Zeriah been married previously to FNU Sparks, it is possible that some of these children could have been hers by that previous marriage) there was also an Elizabeth Sparks, age 17, living in Leonard's household. She was probably a sister of Leonard, or possibly of Zeriah, if her maiden name had been Sparks. (See the Quarterly of September 1956, Whole No. 15, page 165, for this census record.)

Between 1850 and 1854, Leonard Sparks and his family moved to Georgia, and in 1859 he purchased land in Gwinnett County, Georgia.

Leonard Sparks, with his two oldest sons, enlisted in the same company in the Confederate Army in the Civil War. Leonard was captured by the Union forces at Warsaw, Georgia, on September 19, 1864. He died as a prisoner of war at Camp Douglas in Chicago, Illinois, on January 30, 1865. The children of Leonard and Zeriah Sparks were

54.6.1 Thomas Sparks, born October 6, 1836/39, died May 2, 1904.
54.6.2 George Washington Sparks, born March 6, 1844, died July 5, 1905.
54.6.3 Amanda Sparks, born ca. 1845.
54.6.4 Catherine Sparks, born ca. 1847.
54.6.5 John Sparks, born ca. 1849.
54.6.6 James Josiah Sparks, born July 26, 1855, died March 11, 1907.
54.6.7 Mary Sparks, born ca. 1856.
54.6.8 Hester Sparks, born ca. 1860.
54.6.9 Florence Hannah Sparks, born ca. 1863.

Pages 3387-3388
Whle Number 145


A genealogical puzzle upon which your editor has pondered for many years involves the parentage of Dr. Benjamin Clayton Sparks, who was born in Georgia on January 2, 1818, and died in Centre, Cherokee County, Alabama, on December 6, 1894. His birth and death dates appear on his tombstone in Garrett's Cemetery at Centre. In an obituary of Dr. Sparks, this cemetery was described as: "the little graveyard down the banks of the placid Coosa near Garrett's Ferry."

There is circumstantial evidence to suggest that Dr. Sparks may have been born in Washington County, Georgia, and that he came to Cherokee County, Alabama, as a young man. When the 1880 census was taken, for which one of the questions was the birthplace of one's parents, Dr. Sparks (or whomever answered the census-taker's questions) gave South Carolina as the state where both of his parents had been born.

Although Dr. Sparks was a prominent physician in Centre, no record has been found to reveal how he obtained his medical training, and descendants have been unable to determine his parentage. From family records, we know that in 1844 or 1845 he was married in Cherokee County, Alabama, to Mary Ann Garrett, daughter of William and Mary (Hill) Garrett. The Garrett family was both prominent and wealthy at that time. Mary Ann was buried also in the Garrett Cemetery, and on her stone her date of birth is given as March 22, 1826. She died on April 6, 1892.

Dr. Benjamin C. and Mary Ann (Garrett) Sparks are believed to have had the following children

1. Elvira Susan Sparks, born 1846. She was called "Ellie" and married FNU McConnell. She died in 1918.

2. Mary E. ["Mollie"] Sparks, born 1849. She married James Howel and they are known to have had a son named Clayton J. Howel.

3. Samuel G. Sparks, born December 1855, died April 1871.

4. Sallie C. Sparks, born November 1852, died 1858.

5. Leila ["Lee"] Sparks, born ca. 1858. She married Dr. Ellis Ward (dentist) on August 14, 1884, in Cherokee County, Alabama. She is known to have lived in Arkansas in her later years; she had one child which died in infancy.

6. Robert Clayton Sparks, Jr., born November 11, 1860, in Centre, Alabama. He married Mary Louise Nelson on June 27, 1894, in Monroe, Louisiana. They had three children: (a) Robert
Clayton Sparks, III; (b) Margaret Sparks: and (c) James Dilling Sparks, born in Monroe, Louisiana, on June 6, 1910.

7. Manley Augustus Sparks, born December 12, 1866. He was married on November 15, 1895, to Mattie Lovejoy Doane of Atlanta, Georgia. A daughter of John A. and Charity Daniel (Johnson) Doane, she had been born on November 14, 1871; she died in April 1967. Manley A. Sparks was a graduate of the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery; he practiced in Huntsville, Alabama, and Fort Worth, Texas. He and his wife moved to Arkansas in 1928. They had three children:

(a) John Doane Sparks, born July 23, 1900;
(b) Manley Augustus Sparks, Jr., born January 29, 1902; and
(c) Catharine May Sparks, born April 16, 1910.

Your editor would be pleased to hear from anyone who can add further information regarding this family, particularly regarding the parentage of Dr. Benjamin Clayton Sparks. Write to Russell E. Bidlack, 1709 Cherokee Rd., Ann Arbor, MI 48104.

Page 3394


In MARRIAGE BONDS OF FRANKLIN COUNTY, VIRGINIA compiled by Marshall Wingfield in 1939, there is listed the marriage bond for:

SAMUEL SPARKS and SUSANNAH JONES, with John Jones as surety, dated December 6, 1798. Can anyone identify this SAMUEL SPARKS?